Flyfishing report: Saltwater - Garden Route

Date of Report: Thursday, 2nd December 2021
Name: Brian Sowden
Phone: 076 0525634

The Garden Route has experienced quite a lot of rain over the last month so all the estuaries are open. The Klein and Groot Brak, Sedgefield, Wilderness system and Goukamma are all open, which has given these systems a much needed flush and will liven up the activity.of fish.

From Niel Malan in Plettenberg Bay

"Just quick feedback from Plett for 1/2 Nov (was away for 2.5 weeks). Fishing slow with only a few fish landed. Highlights included one session where I tagged 5 juvenile garrick and a medium grunter. Also, happy to report that I am starting to get grunter over the sandbanks (I really struggled there before). Highlight was 3 consecutive sessions where I got a grunter - all sight fished, tagged and released. I think my “Die Spookvlieg”, and the way I fish it, has given me more confidence. Lots of follows and the occasional take. It has now accounted for quite a few grunter and lots of garrick to. I will share details once I have tested it a bit more.

“Spookvlieg” - designed for spooky fish in very shallow water over sand flats. Now you see it now you don’t - applies to the fly and the spotted grunter

I also attended a 4-day flyfishing workshop near Kosi Bay where I had some fun, and caught a fair amount of fish. That was followed by a brown trout session near Giants Castle, but that is way outside the Garden Route."

Deon Stevens from Tidal Loops had this to say.

"Despite the threat of blustery and rainy conditions, I still decided to head out to the Bitou here in Plettenberg Bay for a quick session on the rising tide. Having had some success these last few days I decide to fish near the N2 bridge near Wittedrif.

Just returned from Sterkfontein and the Central Drakensberg with 4 guys, where I found 2 ticks on my body, so imagine my surprise when I parked the car near the bridge and saw another tick casually parked just above the sun visor.

I disposed of it and started to unpack my gear and there on the strap of my backpack, was another one of these guys. Couldn't believe it.

Shaking it off my pack, I headed onto the water, and within a few casts I was on, a Spotted Grunter but lost it while faffing around for the net.

The tide was already coming in fast, bringing along rafts of grass, so fishing a unweighted phlexo crab to let it tumble along the top of the grass-bed, I had a solid grab and I was in again. This time I landed it, but fishing alone, could only manage a beached pic.

The weather got worse, and I was pelted with squally rain for about 20 minutes. I was cold and miserable, but could not get back to the car because the tide had flooded my route back, so I had to brave it and fish on until the tide started turning again.

With most of the floating grass now past me, I switched to a Vinyl Rib Red over White Clouser, hoping to get a Garrick to latch on on the swing, using a fast single-handed strip. I missed a few takes, but no hook-ups, but kept at it. Not long after I got a solid smack and I was in again, but this did not feel like a Garrick. Bringing it closer, it was another Spotted Grunter, this time a bit better than the earlier one. This Grunter has actually chased down a fast stripped Clouser and eaten it, maybe a learning for another day.

Anyway, Brett and I fly to Gauteng this weekend to see my parents again, and hopefully catch up with long-time friend and master rod builder Derek Smith and a friend I last saw in primary school, Atholl Flemming.

Back home to Plettenberg Bay next week for a full diary with bookings all the way into January. Long may the current run of success last ...."


In Knysna the estuary has been a bustle with Grunter as James Kitshoff discovered when he landed a grunter after a lot of hit and misses.

On the pushing tide over the sand banks, using persistence, stealth and accuracy to tailing grunters will almost always guarantee a hook up.

Kob are more in the upper reaches of the lagoon and found in the deeper areas, mostly accessible from a boat with deep sinking lines and flies like the sponge Bob in dark colours.

Kob are more active at night when they go on the hunt and that would be the best time to hunt for them.

Breezers Fishing in Knysna has just received a large collection of flies and fly fishing equipment and are ready to help the fly fishing tourist with any of their needs. They can be found in Grey street three blocks up from the Waterfront.

With Sedgefields Mouth open again there will be a lot of opportunity for Grunter fishing on wadable banks and Garrick on the drop offs.

Wishing all our anglers a happy Christtmass and a Happy New Year. Be safe on the roads and happy fishing



Plettenberg Bay estuary


Sunset -Knysna lagoon